‘Buck-a-beer’ coming to Ontario in time for Labour Day

“Nobody is being forced to lower their prices and there will be no subsidies or tax handouts.”

When Ontario's minimum price for beer drops to $1 just before the Labour Day weekend, craft brewers probably won't pour any effort into changing the price of their products.

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will be rolling back the minimum retail price for a standard 341 ml bottle or 355 ml can of beer to $1 from the current $1.25 as of August 27th, keeping a campaign promise made by Premier Doug Ford earlier this year. The province used to allow beer to be sold for $1, but the Liberal government increased the minimum price in 2008, citing a mandate of "social responsibility".

"There will be no subsidies or tax handouts, instead we are launching the "Buck-a-Beer Challenge", Ford said. "This included a promise to bring "Buck-a-Beer" back to Ontario".

Brewers would not be required to charge less, but the source says the government hopes to get brewers on board with incentives for those who cut prices.

"Buck-a-Beer" will not apply to draft beer sold in restaurants and bars or ciders, spirits and wine. "I think people in Ontario are mature enough to know when they've had one too many", he said.

To provide incentives for brewers to lower their prices, the government is creating what it calls the buck-a-beer challenge, which will provide participating breweries with incentives at the provincially-owned LCBO stores.

Taxes on alcohol sales in Canada have been steadily increasing for decades, with the most recent hike happening in April 2018 when the federal government raised taxes on local and imported beer by two per cent.

In the meantime, there are already plenty of beers that sell for cheap in Ontario. Each type has a different audience, and the $1 beer price caters to just one of those audiences, he suggested.

"You definitely won't see #FreshGLB take part in this", it tweeted. "Here we have a premier who is cutting income to the very poorest amongst us as a priority, and at the same time subsidizing buck-a-beer", referring to the recent cancellation of the basic income pilot program.

"The problem is the cost for craft breweries are the tariffs on aluminum cans, the cost of barley and the taxes make it really hard for the small player to compete in such an idea", said co-owner Damion Orsi, whose sells his beer in the more-expensive tallboy cans. Ford, who will visit a brewery today in Picton, Ontario, also vowed to expand the sale of beer and wine to corner and box stores in Ontario.

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